Somewhat correct drama on last months of Stalins rule and life.
Audio/Visual sound, color
May 14, 2013
Loved this,and what "wasteland"?
March 10, 2012
The Plot to Kill Stalin (Playhouse 90).
Season 3, episode 1.
Original air date: 25 September 1958.
Cast: Melvyn Douglas (Josef Stalin), Eli Wallach (Poskrebyshev), E. G. Marshall (Lavrenti Beria), Oscar Homolka (Nikita Krushchev), Thomas Gomez (Georgi Malenkov), Luther Adler (Vyacheslav Molotov), Lawrence Dobkin (Shtemenko), Marian Seldes (Mme Molotov), Paul Bryar (Georgi Zhukov), Harry Davidson (Rymin), Bert Freed (Sokolovsky), Edwin Jerome (Senior Physician), Paul Lambert (Rassine), Paul Maxwell (Recorder), Cliff Robertson (Himself: Host), David J. Stewart (Ignatiev).
The Soviet Government showed its displeasure at this production by shutting down the CBS News Bureau in Moscow. From then on, other Western News Bureaus in Moscow. were circumspect in their reporting on the USSR. A few years later, they rwceived word of an anti-soviet uprising in a remote city. Not wanting to suffer the same fate as CBS they sat on the story rather than incur the Kremlin`s wrath.
March 18, 2010
History in Black & White
March 16, 2010
Written by David Karp
David Karp, the writer of The Plot to Kill Stalin, was an outstanding writer and had a long career writing for TV. Some of the details in this script are very accurate and can be found in various Stalin biographies, including Young Stalin.
David Karp wrote some excellent paperback originals in the fifties: Cry Flesh; The Velvet Brotherhood; The Big Feeling, etc. He moved on quickly to more mature work, but search them out for some great fifties noir fiction.
March 6, 2009
This is a must see
I'm giving these two parts the highest rating and if I could talk you into watching this I would.
It is hard to believe that free TV had acting, writing and directing of this quality in the 1950's. What happened? Today it would take HBO or SHOWTIME to do a show like this.
Still holds up, still leaves you on the edge of your seat.
November 11, 2008
Prince Vegeta likes this broadcast, and so do I.
November 10, 2008
Just think--this was the era of television, with its several live weekly dramas and wide diversity of programming, that FCC Chairman Newt Minow blasted as a "vast wasteland". See how much better off we are now?
November 8, 2008
Migs over Disneyland
Very entertaining historical drama, highly recommended!
Part 1 is a go right from the 1st scene. Even the commercials make for good viewing - don't miss the surreal little man advert at about halfway thru pt. 2.
Cliff Robertson is also seen at the end of pt. 2 the following week's episode prevue for "Days of Wine and Roses",
perhaps more harrowing than "The Plot To Kill Stalin", which has bits of intentional humor to lighten up the drama.
Playhouse 90's version of Wine and Roses is even more painful to watch than the film version...
until the greenhouse/Bellevue meltdown, when at last Jack Lemmon's hijinx and sight gags trickle down and out for the final sober scenes.
Cliff Robertson (TZ) and Piper Laurie (co-star of Carrie... the sock-her mom!) wind up in a tenement that makes The Honeymooner's kitchen apartment, with it's outdated fridge and bare window overlooking a fire escape seem posh, insanely luxurious by comparison...
Playhouse 90 wasn't playing.
I've written a longer appreciation of this Playhouse 90 episode's cast over on Part 2 -
Episode Cast (in alphabetical order)
Luther Adler ... Molotov
Paul Bryar ... Zhukhov
Harry Davidson ... Rymim
Lawrence Dobkin ... Shtemenko
Melvyn Douglas ... Stalin
Bert Freed ... Sokolovsky
Thomas Gomez ... Malenkov
Oskar Homolka ... Khrushchev
Edwin Jerome ... Senoir Physician
Paul Lambert ... Rassine
E.G. Marshall ... Beria
Paul Maxwell ... Recorder
Marian Seldes ... Mme. Molotov
David J. Stewart ... Ignatiev
Eli Wallach ... Poskrebyshev
May 3, 2008
A remarkable item from a remarkable time
When asked about television programming in the 1950s, Rod Serling often said that during that time television was an exclusive medium. In the earliest days of the medium the vast majority of viewers were well to do and well educated. Programming was specifically tailored for this small, early-adopter audience.
There are few better examples of this than "Playhouse 90" and few better examples of Playhouse 90 than "The plot to kill Stalin." Well written with stunning performances by an "A" list cast, the viewing experience is brisk and engaging.
You will also be treated to the visionary use of camera angles and depth-of-field stage work that is way ahead of its time.
The post-nuclear style of the advertising images, especially the animated-character ads, is a treat for those of us old enough to remember that being a real-time experience.
A young Cliff Robertson, who introduces the show and hosts transitions to ads and breaks, seems somewhat disoriented. This file appears to be live TV appearances by Cliff interspersed with the filmed main presentation, with the entire program looking like it was captured on Kinescope. Cliff struggles when reading the rather obviously "just off camera" cue cards and is distracted several times, apparently by something going on in the studio.
A terrific item for a raining afternoon or any other time you'd like to "get away from it all," totally engrossing!